LIBERIA has ratified the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, triggering the convention’s entry into force.

It follows Bangladesh’s recent ratification of the convention. With Liberia and Bangladesh as the latest contracting states, the conditions have been met for the Hong Kong Convention to come into force in 24 months, on 26 June 2025.

The Hong Kong Convention aims to ensure ships, when recycled at the end of their operational lives, do not pose unnecessary risks to health, safety and the environment.

The International Maritime Organization noted Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest ship recycling countries by capacity, and Liberia is one of the world’s largest flag states by tonnage.

IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim commended Bangladesh and Liberia for their accessions to the Hong Kong Convention.

“I congratulate Bangladesh and Liberia for depositing their instruments of accession this June, triggering within 24 months the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, and the global regime for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships,” he said.

“This is a momentous day for IMO, and it is indeed a historical development for the international shipping industry, for the marine environment, and especially for workers and local communities in ship recycling countries globally.”

Mr Lim said Bangladesh had made “huge strides” in recent years to improve its ship recycling regulations and standards to meet the convention requirements.

“My sincere thanks to the government of Bangladesh for this timely decision of accession,” he said.

“I would also like to express my deepest appreciation to Liberia. As a prominent flag state, their accession to the Hong Kong Convention will provide a major advancement to Liberia’s regulatory framework and would enable the tonnage criteria to be met.

“I invite other member states, who have not yet become a party to the Hong Kong Convention, to do so as soon as possible.”

Following the IMO’s announcement, BIMCO said it was calling on shipowners to choose globally compliant yards for the benefit of the industry workforce and the environment.

BIMCO estimates more than 15,000 ships would be recycled over the next decade. It believes the ratification marks “the beginning of a new era” for the ship recycling industry.

“Fourteen years ago, 63 nations adopted the Hong Kong Convention,” BIMCO secretary general and CEO David Loosley said.

“Today, Bangladesh and Liberia have paved the way for the convention to enter into force.

“This commitment from Bangladesh and Liberia is more than just a step in the right direction, it is a leap that will benefit the environment and workers in the ship recycling industry.”

Mr Loosley said the Hong Kong Convention coming into force means a fully sustainable ship-recycling industry is possible and within reach.

“We commend Bangladesh’s and Liberia’s commitment to making ship recycling safe,” he said.

“Today is the real beginning, the work starts now. We will continue to call on shipowners to commit to choosing globally compliant yards when their ships reach the end of their life cycle.”